Shades (Album Version (Edited))
It's obvious from the first track, "Triumph," that Wale has skills. He has a tightly coiled flow, a preternatural sense for building rhythm via inner rhyme and alliteration, as well as a quick wit. But the album feels like a series of stunts, stylistic disparate beats (the electro stomp of "Mirrors," the oozing rattle of "Let Loose" and the sunny R&B of "Beautiful Bliss") intended to show off Wale's abilities. And though he proves he can rap over anything, he never sounds entirely comfortable. Still, for those just looking for lyrics and flows, this album is a jewel.